Kelli and I were out and about one day. We stopped to pick up a few groceries. I was shocked when I saw this….
WHAT?? How could milk be so cheap?
I thought it was a misprint but saw that skim milk was even cheaper.
I thought it was just a gimmick to get people in the store..some HUGE price cut. It wasn’t though. Even the chocolate milk was dirt cheap.For a fraction of a second I thought cool!! That’s awesome milk is so cheap. Then I looked up and saw Kelli. In a FASTER second I wanted to cry.
Kelli and her husband Jason are dairy farmers. Jason, along with his family, milk 300-ish cows. They can’t make a living with prices so low. These are just some rough, figures…for a farmer, the cows can average just under 80 pounds of milk a day. A gallon of milk weighs 8.5 (ish) pounds. So VERY rough figuring says a cow gives 8-9-ish gallons of milk a day.
Milk prices for farmers have been dropping and dropping. $13 per 100 pounds of milk is the price projected to come. That means a farmer will only be paid about $10.40 for each cow per day. WHAT?
So with that money a farmer has to feed the cow, maintain the buildings, cover vet costs, breeding costs, the equipment costs and all the other costs….and then after all that, take care of his family. It’s ridiculous. Who can do that?
Growing up my dad milked cows. I remember he got $10-$12 per 100 of milk. He could make a living on that THEN in the 70’s….now…NOT!
Kelli has a good friend Megan. Her family milks cows. (The awesome cow pictures throughout this post are hers-thanks!)
Their family is trying so hard to keep their cows but Megan admits it daily gets harder. She recently wrote this:
“This morning as I was milking I noticed the light seeping through the stanchions. And I thought thank God for the light.
Farming makes people strong. Farmers have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. But they continue on because it’s built them to be strong. It’s not that we’ve never feared anything, it’s that we’ve never let fear stop us. Trust me when I say there are days that test the Jesus in you when farming.
However we are perhaps days away from an empty barn. Today we had a barn full of cows. But in our near future we may have empty stanchions where 4 feet once stood. We may have empty pastures where our passions grazed peacefully for years. We may have empty free stalls that for years on end were full of straw and warm beds for our girls. We may have springs without newborn calves dancing around their mothers. We may never again be calmed by the sound of a milk pump hum. What frightens me the most is what our hearts will lose. We’ve lost money, we can deal, but losing our girls? I’m not sure how to fathom that.
My entire family works off the farm to keep the farm. We work hours on end without it providing a paycheck to spend. Some people will never understand how you can physically work so hard for something that doesn’t fill your bank account. But you know what it does fill? It fills our souls. Some people will go their entire lives without feeling how full our hearts are because of these animals.
I don’t want you to sympathize for me, I ask that you pray for our entire industry. I know that elsewhere tonight someone else’s supper table also ate silently for the fear of what’s to come. I know it isn’t just us that has a hard time swallowing these industry issues.
So thank a farmer, and please pray for him too.”
This makes me so sad…The hardest part, I don’t know what to do that can help. Somehow, someway, the price of milk HAS to increase. Dairy farmers cannot keep working at a loss.
For people who have farming born and breed into them this is a sad, sad time. In our area there are still quite a few dairy farmers. So many of them are family run with parents and grown children working to make them operate. I can’t imagine them not being able to keep this lifestyle.
I know many of you who read the blog aren’t farmers. If you aren’t, it’s hard to know what is going on. You might be like I was for a second there in the grocery store, happy about the cheap milk price…but if you know the real story, you like me might be willing to go back to paying the $4.25 a gallon to keep the dairy farmers on the farm.
…..and just as I turned the corner feeling terrible about the dairy farmers, I saw this.
78 cents for 18 eggs….With prices like that, it’s not good for the poultry farmers either.
It is a sad day.